Q&A With… Emma Stone

Emma Stone lying down on the beachside, wearing a white top
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From girl next door to Hollywood bombshell, Emma Stone has undergone quite the transformation in the last few years. Here, the star of Gangster Squad shares with us her thoughts on Ryan Gosling, weight loss, and her fashion acumen.

What was it like being part of Gangster Squad?

The film has such an amazing style and sweep to it. It was incredibly exciting to be part of a great cast. Of course, I loved working with Ryan again but it was a thrill to get to also get to work with Sean Penn, who is such a genius and a legendary actor. Sean is so intense and he brings this energy that you can feel just by sitting down with him or seeing him get into his character. When you work in that kind of stimulating environment it just rubs off on you, and you gain a lot of confidence when you work with extremely talented actors.

Why do you think you and Ryan Gosling have such good chemistry together?

Chemistry is like an indefinable thing. When it comes to people playing your best friend or your parents or anything like that, there are always different kinds of elements to chemistry. It’s one of those things where you’re really good friends with someone and they bring along their friend to dinner. It feels like that every time you meet someone as an actor when you’re auditioning, you don’t know if it’s going to be the best friend or the friend they brought along to dinner. Ryan and I just hit if off from the first moment and he has this funny, playful nature that is so pleasant to be around. He has a different take on life, but, when it comes to work, he’s very serious and completely dedicated. He has this natural charisma that surrounds him in whatever he does.

Is it fun playing a gangster moll?

I loved the idea of stepping into a different era and imagining the mind-set of people who were living in a different time. I also liked the idea of creating this sexy and mysterious character; I was thinking back to some of the great actresses of the past and the kind of aura they cast.

Your career seems to be on a roll right how. How do you deal with the so-called trappings of fame?

[Laughs] I don’t let myself get caught up or carried away by success. I know that, right now, I’m getting good roles and most of my films have done well but we all know that things can change very quickly in this business. I’ve seen a lot of actors whom I admire fall from grace and disappear, and then, just as suddenly, they find a good film and everybody wants to work with them again. That’s the kind of perspective you have to have or you’ll be very unhappy. I’m trying to enjoy the moment and learn as much as I can and be as open to this experience and this time in my life as I can be. I never expected to have this kind of success and I’m trying to adjust to all of it and not change very much about the way I lead my life. I don’t want to be blasé about everything that’s happening to me, but at the same time I don’t want to be self-indulgent either.

Do you feel any pressure to find a hit film every time out?

I don’t want to sell my soul for a film. I’m trying to focus on finding good roles. That’s the one thing I can have some control over. I read a script, know who the director is, and whether I have a great cast to work with. I don’t want to sell my soul for a film and just take a paycheck. Sure, you can enjoy the attention and the magazine covers and all that when you’re part of a big studio film, but you can’t let yourself get attached to that.

Have you had any trouble adjusting to all the attention about your private life and a certain romance?

[Laughs] It’s not much fun having guys hanging around your house or following you around when you want to do wild private things like going shopping. I’m still figuring out how to handle all that but it’s not something that really disturbs me or affects my life.

What do you do when you’re away from the set and trying to lead a normal life?

I love to hang out with my friends. Whenever you shoot a film, your regular life is put on hold for three or four months at a time and then you find yourself trying to get back to your usual life. When you have good friends, it just makes you feel normal again. I also like to spend a lot of quiet time reading, or just walking around and finding cool little cafés where I can hang out with friends and not attract any attention.

You’re also getting attention as something of a fashion icon?

I love fashion. While I’ve been living in New York, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of brilliant designers and get to go to a few fashion shows, which are really exciting events. I don’t think I have any one style or look that I like to go for. I’m still learning a lot about clothes and experimenting with different looks, but I also have a great stylist who looks after me.

Emma Stone wearing a red dress with a deep neckline

"I'm not worried about looking like a model or always trying to look perfect"

Do you work out a lot or worry about your weight that much?

I’m not a fitness freak. I don’t like doing weights and I don’t like running, because it’s bad for your knees, but I do like to go swimming because I find it very relaxing and peaceful. Working out at a gym drives me crazy. I’m not sure why, but I find it very confining and I wonder why I’m there. I can easily spend a few months without working out until I have a film coming up and I might want to drop a few pounds. When I was filming ‘The Help’, the southern cooking was so delicious that I couldn’t help myself and gained a few pounds. The costume fitter had to adjust some of my clothes! I’m not worried about looking like a model or always trying to look perfect. I try to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and go swimming when I can. That’s my fitness regime.

Critics have been praising your comic skills ever since ‘Easy A’ put you on the map. Are you going to keep doing comedies down the road?

I love comedies. I grew up watching those kinds of films as a kid. My dad also loves them. The first movies I ever remember watching were ‘The Jerk’, ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’, ‘Animal House’, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’. Don’t forget that ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ is a John Hughes movie. The brilliance of John Hughes was so exciting. When I was making ‘Easy A’ I remember speaking with the director, Will Gluck, and John Hughes is his favourite director. Doing that film was so exciting, because I got to pay tribute and homage to John Hughes who told his stories in the most empathetic way. That’s why they still resonate when you’re an adult. They might be set in high school but are a universal truth. Hughes was just absolutely phenomenal.

You’ve been living mainly in New York of late. What do you like about that city?

I like the fact that the city is so huge and diverse. There’s so much going on and no one really cares about the film business or talks about it. L.A. is pretty much geared around the movie industry, and, wherever you go, you tend to see people who are in the business or talking about it. When I’m in New York, I feel a little freer and less self-conscious about being an actress. I also have a lot of good friends in L.A., and the weather is so beautiful, but I would go crazy if I had to live in L.A. full-time.

How do you see your life these days?

I’m still in the process of discovering so much about myself and about other people. You learn to stay away from the toxic people and to enjoy friendships with people you can trust and learn from. I’m drawn to people who have character and energy, and I try to feed off that.

Photos: Courtesy of TRUNK ARCHIVE

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